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Robert Draper Education. (2012) 'Do Not Ask What Good We Do Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.'

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Boehner 14, Pelosi 13, Romney 10, Washington 7, Us 7, Texas 5, California 4, Obama 4, Robert Draper 3, John Boehner 3, Ryan 2, New York 2, Barack Obama 2, Upstate New York 2, Cantor 2, Missouri 2, Rove 2, Kevin Mccarthy 2, Schuler 2, Emerson 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Robert Draper  Education.  (2012) 'Do Not Ask What  
   Good We Do Inside the U.S. House of Representatives.'  

    January 12, 2013
    3:45 - 4:30pm EST  

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defines your work. his book is the only you. and then we will have the machinery of criminal justice and confederate reckoning, which explores the politics of the south during the civil war. you can watch all these books and more and for a complete schedule, visit booktv.org. now on booktv, from the texas book festival in austin, texas, robert draper discusses his book, "do not ask what good we do." >> good evening. i am evan smith and i am pleased to be here with robert draper. his latest book is "do not ask
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what good we do", inside the house of representatives. he is a familiar face around these parts having spent the early part of his career as one of the marquee writers. it is kind of like dean martin and jerry lewis. he is currently a contributing writer to "the new york times" magazine and national geographic and his previous books include a critically acclaimed biography of george bush and two novels. he is a native of houston and please join me in welcoming robert draper. >> thank you. >> i thought we would start broad. are we better off than we were two years ago? [laughter] >> do i really have to answer that question? [laughter] >> well, i think that the unit of management that the democrats
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would use is different from that that the republicans would use. as speaker john boehner has said. the fact that we have passed a record number of bills the swell of congress. the we are not increasing taxes and that is one way of looking at it. it has a record low popularity approval rating -- this is a congress that is defined by dysfunction and gridlock. a congress in which and it is a policy point to the delivering body. >> for the people that have ascended to positions of leadership, do you think that they believe that they were elected to not do things as opposed to do things?
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>> i refer to the tea party class of the congress, they believe they will do precisely what they were elected to do, which is to roll back all obama initiatives and cut spending a lot of them thought that the debt ceiling should not be increased. basically they believe that their job is to obstruct barack obama and then once there is a republican president in place, to have a better business climate with more deregulation or the funding of programs that have never quite been near and dear to them. yes, i think they do believe that. flashing forward a little bit, we have that fiasco of 2011. when we were taken to the brink of a fiscal cliff what we were about to see again, the thinking
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on the part of the house republicans leadership was maybe our tea party question will realize that compromise is not such a bad thing. the opposite occurred. they went home and the people tend to be the activists of their party and those people tend to be the tea party and they were the ones screaming and asking why did you accept a deal? there have been mixed messages and it is likely that we will see mixed signals from these people. >> the mixed freshmen are members of congress and they think the way, if only we could control them. it indicates that the leadership feels it is, itself, out of sync with those who obstruct us.
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>> the leadership is happy that they are leadership and that they are in power. that is it. i suspect that they week of screaming because they don't have control. speaker john boehner, and kevin mccarthy -- this class of 2010 of the 87 freshmen, but these guys came in novel holden by any means to leadership and made it very clear from the outset that they were not going to just fall into line. it will prove to be the case when the democrats regain power. the enforcement tools are indeed of yesteryear. especially since earmarks have now been banned and with the blogosphere, you can turn
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someone into an instant martyr by stripping them of their committee assignments. it is very hard. so there is a point in my book that i refer to after the debt ceiling fiasco of the summer of 2011 when i came back in yet another continuing resolution used to fund the government and the obama administration had not passed a budget and it was coming out. the republicans in the leadership believed that the own members voted against it. and the appropriations committee, which defined these resolutions and all others was insisting on a meeting with the leadership. we are cutting spending to record lows, and yes, these guys still are voting for us. we need to tell them to fall in line and speaker boehner said that we can't do that anymore.
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>> so the leadership doesn't feel like they are in a position to lead. on the debt ceiling or anything else? >> yes. whole books have been devoted to the debt ceiling and specifically, you know, the so-called grand bargain between speaker boehner and obama. it fell apart. a with all due respect to the authors of those stories and books, the bottom line is that speaker boehner never had the votes anyway. whatever deal he would have struck was with the obama administration and would almost certainly have failed and he would not have been able to get sufficient votes or he would have relied so heavily on democratic votes to do so that he would run the risk of indirection. in fact, this is detailed in my book that there was a meeting during the whole showdown over the debt ceiling in which some of speaker boehner's closest allies met in the office and said to him, if you come back with a deal that you fashioned
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with president obama doesn't get more than 100 votes or so, and eric cantor has already started to whisper a campaign against you, and we saw it happen with speaker newt gingrich and it can happen to you. speaker boehner took that to heart and he walked away from a deal shortly after that. >> coming to the interplay between the republican side in the second, task list. the president was initially doing a "des moines register" editorial board and did not get the endorsement of that paper and one of the things he said is that he believed he could get a grand bargain struck on the debt ceiling if he were reelected on november 6. based on what you're saying, it may not be possible if the freshmen, now sophomores, and some of the new members don't essentially give him their blessing to go cut a deal. they may feel in the same tough spot now that they were last
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year. >> a grand bargain based on what you're saying they not be possible if obama wins under any circumstance to well, i will go ahead and talk about it anyway because i have been doing general election reporting for "the new york times" magazine. in talking to the campaign manager of the obama campaign, asking them how with the next four years, given that the american people, if they vote for president obama for another four years, will basically be voting against obstructionism and the republicans will get the message and they will be towards
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the center. >> i can't see that happening. >> you know, that is their talking point. >> are you anymore optimistic when it was they that governor romney one on november 6. that there is some deal he office. >> no, i am not. it is that is what you meant specifically on governor romney
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and i i'm what is it about three weeks ago or so. i interviewed a number of people and particularly the more conservative of republicans who say this is a great moment for them if mitt romney wins. a moment for them to legislate aggressively driven agenda. my question is what if that is not so the would've romney decides that that is not how he wishes to govern. that it is in the mode of him being the governor of massachusetts. and one of the stars featured in my book said we have been pretty calm us far. if present nominee doesn't behave like a conservative, we are going to burn it down. [applause] >> okay, let's let that sit here and think right and. [laughter] let's come back to the leadership. let's begin characterizing them beginning with speaker boehner. >> he was not the obvious choice to lead this sort of tea party class. but nonetheless, you can see the
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tea party phenomenon for the freight train that it was. so speaker boehner campaign heavily for a number of the tea party freshman. and he also believed that it presented republicans with a great opportunity. his belief was that this would be a perfect recipe for entitlement reform. if you are going after entitlement reform, ideally it had a bipartisanship so that they couldn't walk away from it. so he believed that he could leverage, you know, that the conservatism of the tea party and action. but he failed to do so. the tea party freshman with who i spend time with, you know,
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they found him as a congenial ceo. but certainly not as a real leader. and that has been implicitly clear throughout the 112th congress. eric cantor is somewhat younger than speaker boehner and is a very clever guy and very ambitious. i think that they have found that this would not surprise any of them but it was leaking out to eric cantor, that speaker boehner was pursuing this separately with obama and this made him livid and tanner ultimately walked out of this certainly because of what was going on with speaker boehner.
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so does this sound childish you? [laughter] >> the question is a little childish. which is john boehner wouldn't hesitate to push him out an open window, would he? >> well, he isn't even tempered sword. you know,. >> so there is an essence between speaker boehner and eric cantor? >> yes, i would say so. working in the middle is the majority risk of kevin mccarthy. mccarthy has only been in for three terms. so he is practically a freshman himself and he became sort of the big brother to them and that was a clever move on his part.
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so to the extent that anybody knows their whims and sentiments, they are very close. ..
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>> mitt romney's running mate, is everyone mountain republican leadership, and that matter, republican ranks happy to see him there, any resentment of him? do they respect him as much as they are said to for the brain and facility for numbers and all of that? >> they do respect him, and there are those who resent and distrust paul ryan in the republican party are the ryan
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budget, and the republican house budget, they had -- ryan's budget kicked around for several years as ranking member of the house budget committee back when pelosi and the democrats were in power. he would introduce that budget as the minority budget, and i think 20% to 25% of republicans voted against it, and, yet, when the tea party wave came in and when the republicans retook the house, and now ryan was chairman of the house budget committee, he -- ryan was very, very clever to, for one thing, develop consensus among think tanks and the leadership as well, and the small number of moderates were drowned out, and ultimately, that bill passed with, i think, only four republicans voting against it, an astonishing, you know, kind of consensus. he's -- ryan's widely admired among the freshman class. a wise guy. what was written in the piece
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recently on ryan, ryan is one of those guys who pulled off the seat of being a politician who makes you feel like he's above politics. he's not about politics. he's practiced his own brand of politics, a cunning brand. >> should they lose on november 6th, and congressman ryan is re-elected running on the same day to the seat in wisconsin and returns to the chorus, is that going to be okay with him, and will that be okay with them or ryan with the newfound celebrity possibly displace boehner, cantor, and the others in a leadership role? >> it won't. that's not the path he's interested in. i think he likes being in the house. you know, if he's not in the white house, being the chair of the house budget committee is actually where the action is, and, in fact, on the democratic side, chris van hollen made a move away from the so-called leadership track to be the counter part, basically, to ryan because he knew that that was a high profile assignment that
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would benefit his ambitions as well. >> you mentioned the democrats, which reminds me there's some democrats. >> a few. >> you can be forgiven for thinking there are not in. we have not talk about the democrats reasonably getting back into the majority. we don't think that will happen. >> no, it will not. >> not this time. how is pelosi regarded? i asked about the others. she was speaker pelosi, now leader pelosi. it was not a given she would be minority leader after losing the -- >> no. >> the majority, but she's in control, and there's not any insurrection on the democratic side to change the dynamic there. >> there will not be any kind of unsur recollection. -- insurrection. it's interesting. i interviewed her for the book and other people on the democratic sides of leadership, and following around the republican freshman. it was interesting to see, you know, interesting to see them evolve, and that was a reason why i wanted to do the book, but what it involved, many things
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did not, but one thing was the opinion of pelosi, came to respect her. she holds her caucus together, and it's a diverse caucus more than the republican caucus is, and she counts better than anyone in washington, else 218, the majority needed to get not house. after she lost the speakership and one of the dwindling number of democrats decided to run against her, i mean, she made it very clear quickly that she had the votes on him and a lot of people who, had she not moved quickly, who might have supported schuler realized it was not a good idea to be in a losing cause, but be out there. she's a formidable person. also, she's the face of the democratic house, and democrats at large, and that's not been a good thing. after the democrats lost in
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2010, there's a meeting that i, a democratic caucus that pelosi called closed door, none of the staffers were present, and pelosi said what i would like is just for the people who are defeated, the election, i'd like this to be their opportunity to vent what they want to vent, and, in fact, the line was long. democrats lost, and some said they lost because the obamacare and glad to fall on their speer for that. others blamed no one, you know, it was just the nature of an unpopular president who dragged them down. the particular so-called democrats in the moderate or swing districts say speaker pelosi, you know, i have a lot of respect for you, but you have become the face of our defeat. i -- through no fault of mine, i can't, you know, i campaigned as a moderate congressman, but when it came for a campaign against me in 2010, all they did was run ads, a picture of you, nancy
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pelosi, and me as if we were best buds. if i run against the guy who beat me, they do that again. that's the playbook, and a successful one of the pelosi has been indeed, you know, the fire pelosi was the big, there was a banner throughout 2010, and after the big sue -- tsunami hit the tear party wave, they took the sign down and said "hire pelosi." >> is leader pelosi or the president more problematic for the democrats today in terms of their desire to regain the majority in the house? >> well, i think that's maybe a distinction at that level are meaningless. they are both problematic, and you don't find a lot of democrats other than in liberal districts that wouldn't need barack obama's help anyway campaigning with the president. they use, you know, the obama apparatus and the pelosi app apparatus for fundraising, and
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that's it. there was a so-called drive to 25. that's how many seats are necessary for democrats to flip and regain power. there appeared to be a moment in time when a particularly after this woman kathy won on -- >> in upstate new york. >> in upstate new york, yeah, on taking chris lee's seat on a mediscare platform basically, looking to be the winning argument for them, saying the republicans end the medicare guarantee, but now that's not sufficiently potent to get them the majority. >> i want to take the moderator at the texas book festival's prerogative here and ask about a texas congressman who you write about in the book. one of these freshman elected from corpus christi who is a very interesting guy if you pay attention to the delegation. he's more interesting and fun to write about and cover than the others. why did you pick him to write
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about? >> yeah. >> would you talk about him to this group. >> many of you know the name, but know it in a different context. his grandmother is a liberal icon. black did not get politics from his grandmother. he was an entrepreneur and accidental congressman running in 2010 in the texas congressional district including corpus christi, and at the time included brownsville, a district, in other words, that was 70% hispanic. blake, himself, spoke no spanish, and was a political unknown; however, in 2010, despite the numbers being overwhelmingly again him, a midterm year, latino voters stayed home, and there was a big tea party movement in the area, and he won by 800 or 900 votes. >> beat senior, a long time democratic member of the congress. >> that's exactly right, yeah.
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he arrived because he was inexperienced of the ways of government at large. he arrived three and a half weeks after everybody else did because the recoup, and so he was, you know, i followed a lot of the congressman around to get aceps of the congressional experience, and his was one of the citizens politician who tries, as he might, to never catch up, just always, sort of, you know, holding on to the medicine ball for dear life and never getting on top of it. he was -- he -- his -- he told me he had this recurring nightmare that he was alone in his office, and there was no furniture, and only a phone that rang and rang and rang, and he was never able to get it. [laughter] he told us, a group of business lobbyists, he said, you know, you have that anxiety dream, apparently, anxiety dreams are big in the house of his mind that, you know, that anxiety
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dream of, like, going to school looking down, and you're not wearing your pants. you guys have to be the guys to tell me to wear my pants and what to vote for. you know, i remember him saying early he was trying to apply his business acumen to the model of politics, and legislative director, seems like a part-time job to me, and what that meant is, like, during the first continuing resolution, when there was a orgy of amendments and they did not understand what any of them werebeth dictor to e communications directser because he had been a radio disk jockey and believed he communicated well. he did not have a website because he used to be -- he used to own a computer business, and he knew that to do issue to put up a website only cost x number of dollars to do. there were just five companies
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that in washington, d.c. that have been deemed, you know secure to bid on that contract, and he found that the prices they were charging were egregious, that back in corpus they caught less and they didn't put up the site for awhile. he was his own worst enemy on top of which his wife, often the case, his spouse became very, very interested in the personnel, interested in a lot of things in turn causing great personnel turnovers, and he, you know, he -- and he -- in addition to that, he was elected on a tea party wave, and yet, you know, after he is dually elected, he realizes he's the congressman of a district that's 70% his panic. there is a solution to the problem, that's redistricting, and that's what happened to him, but in the meantime, you know, he would have town hall meetings hoping latinos would show up, know them, hear their concerns, but only tea party activists showed up and when they talked about the need to compromise, they stood up, and i tended some
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of these town hall meetings, and the tea party guys say we did not send you to washington to compromise. he was caught between twist and between. >> before we open it up to questions, i have to say who in god's name would want to do this? [laughter] you make serving in congress sound so unattractive. >> well, you know -- >> why -- we say, well, you know, we denigrate public service in the country, people don't have a reason to run. you, for a half hour, gave young people every run but to run for congress. >> the counter point, the counterwaive to the freshman is a guy i spent time with, john dingle, a democrat from michigan, 85 years old, served since 1955, and previous to him, his father served in that same congressional district until he died, and his son, then, you know, ran and took his place. he is, you know, usedded to be thought of as a liberal. no one thought of him as a
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liberal now. the democrats don't because they marginalized him. he was not sufficiently liberal to be on the energy and commerce committee, yet he's proof, and i show it throughout the book, even with him being sort of removed from the pecking order of power in the democrats, was able to get things done, that this wily guy knows how to pull strings on behalf of the district and, you know, gets parks appropriated, to get, you know, all -- to get bills passed. i'm he passed a pipeline safety bill which is essentially a regulation bill during the tea party congress. that's unheard of, and but ding l is, i think,, you know, a dying breed. his philosophy is you govern from the center. you begin writing a bill from the center meaning you bring everybody on board, get them in a room, talk about what they would like. sounds reasonable. that's not how it works today in zero sum politics where their idea, you know, it's the republican leadership, previously the democrats were
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guilty of the same thing, you know, take out our position to the extreme, make them come all the way in that direction, and if it's towards the center, then, okay. start there. that's not the dingle way, and unfortunately, i think his way is dying. >> passing of and era. time for questions now, 15 minutes, mrch in the center. get up, and we are amplified, but use the outside voice so we can hear you up here. we'll take as many as they tell us we can take, and when we are told we can't take anymore, we'll cut you off. sir? >> i have a specific question. given the too big to fail banks are bigger an more con sal dated than ever. given that the dodd-frank bill reforms regulations have been deluded and postponed and delayed. i'm assuming there's another banking crisis eventually.
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if another t.a.r.p. bill comes up to bail out the banks, wall street, do you think the tea party and the house would go along with that this time or do you think they would stop it in the end? >> no is the answer. i mean, i think that t.a.r.p. is still a dirty word, particularly in conservative circles. roy blunt, for example, now a senator in missouri, helped put t.a.r.p. together and has, you know the conservative flank of his party never has forgiven him for that. no, i think the point of view, whether it's factually born out or not, is that that sort of deal, anything that basically causes more regulation of the banks creates more problems than it solves, and that's -- i'm speaking now, of course, of the house republicans, and i don't see the composition ideologically speaking of the house republicans changing soon, though, it is interesting to see that in the congress, in the
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house of representatives, there are still a lot of people from the very hot blooded class of 1994s the newt gingrich revolution. some of these guys, in fact, one now retiring, he is a member in good standing of the moderate two-state club and is retiring in large part because of the disgust of the tea party, and so this is a guy, you know, who, in a lot of ways, was the forerunner the movement, mellowed over time. one way to look at it, and another, i suppose, is the class much 1994 was nowhere near as conservative. >> liberals by comparison. do you think if another t.a.r.p. bill comes up, it's let the banks go? >> no, boehner in the house leadership will have a decision to make, and he's not going to want there to be a great depression on his watch, especially if there's a republican administration. if there's a president romney, i mean, romney supported t.a.r.p. and supported it rapidly, and, in fact, i mention in that story that i wrote in the "new york
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times" magazine about governor romney that in 2008 when the financial crisis, you know, when the bank meltdown was upon us, and john mccain was deciding to suspend the campaign, the decision came as a result of a meeting he had with the economic advisory team. a lot of these were big donors. mitt romney was among them, and all of those guys said take it, take whatever they offer. take it. this looks bad. the next day, in fact, romney went on the "today" show supporting t.a.r.p.. that's one thing governor rosmny modified many positions, but has not, however, the support of t.a.r.p.. if there's a president romney, and if there continue to be difficulties with the banks, then under those sishes, yes, there could be a recipe for more regulation. >> sure? >> what impact, if any, do you think the changes in california, in their method for electing
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congressional representatives will have, and what are the -- >> referring to the redistricting? >> yes and democrat versus democrat, republican versus republican in their, you know, their system of electing -- >> yeah. if i'm understanding you right, i think you're referring to now there was a kind of bipartisan commission that redesigned, you know, that did the redistricting -- >> yeah. i actually did a story for the atlantic monthly on redistricting and mentioned this thing. there has been -- the belief, you know, be many politicians is that there's no such thing as a bipartisan border, nonpartisan board, and they coven times point to the california commission as a failed experiment because the democrats managed to influence a series of e-mails ob taped by propublica would suggest, managed to influence a lot of these commissioners. now, having said that, there's a number of other states in the
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u.s. that do have bipartisan redistricting commissions, and just for what it's worth, the reason why this, to me, is a topic, i'm often asked if this is the worst congress ever, or if this is not what we wish congress would be, you know, what would be the solution? there are not many of them that come to mind, but redistricting reform would be one of them because what happens is that when we create these districts that are so rigidly red or blue then we send to washington people who are be holding to the most extreme elements of the party. those people have no incentive whatsoever to compromise, just to reach across the aisle, and so long as we are basically allowing the majority party of any given state to then gerrymandered districts that favor their favor and kneecap the opposition party, then we're perpetuating, or really exacerbating, you know, this
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political divide, and now, i think that -- the problem, of course, is who is going to pass this bill? you know, there's a guy named john tanner who was the head of the blue dog democrats, and during his last couple of terms, he kept trying to bring it up during a a democratic majority, and pelosi heard nothing of it. seems interesting, john, and it never got scheduled. since then, another blue dog democrat, schuler, this term, trying to get it on for consideration and no dice so up fortunately, you know, to reform congress, congress has to play along, and that seems unlikely to happen. >> i guess where i was going is you have 52 congressmen, congressional districts in california, and they have reformed their system, and you have, i think, there's ten districts out there now that -- >> right. >> have republican versus republican or democrat versus democrat. there was one first fight in a
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debate. >> it's forcing them to the center, doing what you're talking about. will that impact? >> yeah, i mean, i do think that though some people pointed to the california example as being, you know, proof that this is a flawed, this is a flawed means of reform, it's still striking me as a palatable reform. >> so compared to what; right? >> yeah. sir? >> oh, hey, mr. richards, how are you? here's lately that the tea party has peaked and is maybe starting to decline. do you see any evidence to support this claim, or is it just wishful thinking? >> it's wishful thinking. [laughter] you know, i've heard, you know, every -- seems like every month and a half or so there's a new, you know, sort of minimovement amongst the largely conservative opinion leaders. they write stories, and some democrats as well about how the tea party movement is dead.
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the most recent evidence is if mitt romney wins, that's because he moved towards the center, but, no, i don't think that the tea party movement has been proof we're a hard right nation. it's proof that the republican parties tilted right, and that i think if romney beats obama, it's because he won a lot of independent voters who proved from party to party, election to election. the best evidence, to me, that the tea party movement is it's not here to stay, then at least matured, it's entered the bloodstream is by the voting behavior of congressmen. you see, you know, for example, you know, the ryan budget and, you know, on both times, both in 2011 and 2012 when it was up for a vote, all republicans who previously voted against it now vote for it. the reason for this is that if they failed to vote for it, they will be primaried by someone who gets to their right, and, in fact, one of the people that i write about in the book is a moderate republican named emerson in missouri, and she
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voted against a couple of things that, you know, voting behavior not deemed sufficiently red winged who wrote things saying, hey, tea party e -- party, here's a primary. that strikes into the heart of legislators. >> in fact, if governor romney loses, the response will be we told you so. >> exactly, enough with the moderates already, sir. >> assuming the gridlock, what do you see coming down the line considering the judicial appointment crisis. >> i assume the idea that there's unfilled vacancies on the judiciary and how this new congress or for that matter the current congress reacts. >> right. that's the senate, and my book is on the house. i think the problem is the, you know, this is a different issue, and it has to do with the ability of a particular senator to block a particular federal appointment due to the rules and traditions of the senate.
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there's moves afoot, always, to reform that, but the power goes against the movements, i don't see there being any change in the behavior any time soon. >> the real reality is we coulde the same issue regardless of the presidency. democratic majority barely in the senate. >> sure. >> could well happen next time. sir? >> you already said this, tea party types didn't like t.a.r.p., but the great quasi apock lippic moment in 2008 was when hank paulson says if this does not pass, there's no economy monday. do you think with romney or obama as president, if another moment occurs, the tea party types listen to people like that and still send the economy down the drain? >> well, there's a moment that i memorialize in the book during the debt ceiling stand justify that i think is really, you know, i los --
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illustrative of the plank of the republican party, an it was the house leadership, you know, boehner, cantor, ect., i'm answering in a general way, but there are -- they were rather cd and believed the debt ceiling had to be raised believing risking the full faith and credit of the united states was a dangerous proposition and default would be a terrible thing for the country. because they see their fellow members did not believe that to be the case, they brought in a treasury under secretary named jake powell who served in the george hw bush administration to explain what would happen if when august 2nd came and went and the debt ceiling was not raised and givers through a powerpoint presentation of, you know, when certain social security checks would not go through. how immediately all federal prisons close, and at such and
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such a point veterans benefits would be cut off, and it was very, you know, compelling evidence this would be calamitous, and, yet, there were some republicans who set up, house republicans that during the end of the presentation said it's outrageous that you're talking about this rather than wash's wreckless spending hots. thatst that's what you should be talking about. another guy says rove talk to us in morning and wrote an article saying this is obama's problem. you seem like a nice guy, but i like rove's view belter than yours. unwilling, really, to listen to this, and the aforementioned republican asked a freshmannings you know, i have constituents not to raise the debt ceiling. explain what this is about. i don't want to lose my temper to them, rather you. the guy said, you know, well, the thing is we've been wreckless in the spending, and these are the consequences, so be it.
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emerson went home to the husband and said pour me a big glass of wine. i just had a meeting with a guy who claims to be a congressman. [laughter] >> one last -- that would be a great place to end, we have one last question before we wrap it up, sir? >> thank you, given that you go to a lot of these house of representatives meetings, town halls, community meetings, are you hearing more or awless heard people say if you just do this meaning there's correlation of doing something and end result where there's not other phak tores considered, are you more simplistic in what we believe can result from taking action than in the past? >> the town halls i went to were republican town halls, and overwhelmingly the sentiment in the town hall meetings is a
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feeling of distrust of washington, a feeling the public lost control, a feeling that washington is not acting in their best interest, and, you know, i think that some of this is a psyche that began september 11 and feeling of vulnerability that existed on several planks since then. what i have not heard are discussions of if we pass this measure, will that help? remember, also, that washington really believes in zero-sum politics. that's one -- i mean, this is not an an original thought of mine to say this, but it's been disillusioning nonetheless to cover it and see this that the leadership on both sides is not how to fix a problem, but gain and maintain power. a lot of the discussions have been about, you know, how the republicans roll back the obama administers, make him weak, a